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Time for gift giving.

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is almost upon us.

You have been taking pictures all year long and probably have a bunch of pictures that you might want to share. You have those pictures of the kids at the lake, the vacation pictures, really, any collection of images with a theme. Time to organize them and maybe even put them into a book. It’s easier than you think and probably cheaper too!

Not only books are available. You can make those special pictures into almost anything. Get your holiday cards printed, create a custom family calendar. Make a custom case for your cell phone, or a personalized tote bag for Mom. These services will print on almost anything; you’re sure to find something for almost anyone. Their list of products is hundreds of items. One of my favorites is turning a family picture into a jigsaw puzzle.

These services will accept images from a wide variety of sources, and in many cases have an app that will assist you, available for you phone. Facebook, Instagram, in fact, most social media services are able to provide images for your project, or for us old-schooler’s, from our camera.

Shutterfly was the first digital service I ever used to store my pictures in the cloud. These days, I turn to it more for photo gifts. It has an extensive offering that ranges from books and calendars to stationary and candles: basically anything you can slap a picture on.

These services offer a large selection of design options from fully custom to simple, where you just load in your pictures and they will put them together for you. There are hundreds of themes to choose from as well as cover material options. The simpler options enable you to choose a template and then automatically fill the pages with your choice of pictures.

Be careful, this can be a lot of fun, and I found myself spending hours getting things “just right”.

Here is some sample pricing [note that pricing varies substantially, this is for comparison purposes and are just examples].

  • Photo book (smallest): $13 (5x7, 20 pages, soft cover)

  • Photo book (largest): $75 (11x14, 20 pages, hard cover)

Additional pages can run from $0.65 to $2.50 each

Check out one of these services. You will want to find one you are comfortable using. Look for the following when choosing a service:

  • Ease of use

  • User interface and workflow

  • Functionality

  • Creative flexibility

  • Quality of templates, clip art, layouts and backgrounds

These services online make it easy. I have used quite often, but the other services are quite good as well. Here’s a hint, look for a discount code, they can save you 50% or more.

This is a short list of websites that offer these services.

  • Shutterfly []

  • Mixbook Photo Co. []

  • Snapfish []

  • Resnap []

  • Walmart Photo []

  • Apple Photo Book

  • Costco []

  • Amazon Photos

This year give a gift of memories. They are always welcome.

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